The Sant Tukaram Maharaj Sansthan is busy preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on June 14, 2022, when he is due to inaugurate the newly constructed Sant Tukaram Shila Temple. Ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit, police checkpoints are being erected and final touches are being made to the rest of the temples inside the larger compound.
The new Shila temple was built with black stone from Rajasthan. Enclosed inside is the ‘Shila’ in front of which is a 42 inch tall idol of Sant Tukaram, which the trustees say was first built. The idol depicts Sant Tukaram seated and performing a kirtan and was built over six months from June to November 2021.
Nitin Maharaj More, president of the sansthan, said: “Previously this Shila temple, also known as ‘Deool wada’, was made of wood and has a tulsi vrindavan which Sant Tukaram prepared in memory of his first wife. , Jijabai, with the Shila placed in front of the vrindavan.There was never any Samadhi of Sant Tukaram as he left physically for Vaikunth.
The new temple was designed and built by Sarvodaya Bharat Shilpakala Constructions. “The temple is 42 feet tall and was built in the Hemadpanthi architectural style. It is a three-tiered structure with an inner shrine (14 by 14 feet), shrine and sabha mandap (18 by 21 feet) and 36 kalas (peaks),” Nitin More said.
There are temple wall carvings depicting trees, vines, animals and peacocks that are important to the More family. “The idea took root in 2008 when then President Pratibha Patil mentioned the abhanga of Sant Tukaram during her swearing in, creating a buzz around Sant Tukaram in Delhi. We started thinking about building this temple in 2015-16 and it is finally ready this year. The total cost of the temple is Rs 1.17 crore,” Nitin More said.
Administrators of sansthan visited Prime Minister Modi after hearing him talk about annual wari and warkaris in his Mann Ki Baat speech and invited him to visit Dehu in month of Ashadh which is important for warkaris . “June 14 is an important date for warkaris because Sant Tukaram always had 14 main taalkaris with him and there is a gate dedicated to them,” said Sanjay More.